by Tony Gjokaj October 31, 2021 3 min read

When I started my fitness and mental health journey, my exercise consisted of various forms of circuit training.

Walking around the facility with a medicine ball over my head was one of my most notable memories of pain when I first started.

Yet this pain always brought improvements to my mental health.

As time progressed, I transitioned into resistance training with every intention to build muscle.

I was able to adhere to this for years until I changed my style of exercise once again.

So what is the best way to exercise for mental health? 

In this post, we are going to explore this.

Let's dive in!

Running

Running is a very popular choice for overall well-being. It has been reported that those who regularly run find improvements in stress management, mental health, and sleep quality.

You've probably heard about the "Runner's High", which simplifies the process of our body's endorphins flowing and improvements in serotonin levels.

One of the best benefits of running is that you can pretty much do it anywhere. You can simply go outside your neighborhood or go to the park to run a couple of laps.

Resistance Training

Resistance Training is one of my favorite methods of training. This consists of any style of training that adds resistance to your body.

Activities like Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, CrossFit, and Olympic Lifting are all examples of resistance training.

According to research, moderately-intense strength training sessions have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

One of my favorite benefits of Resistance Training is the gym setting. You can go to a gym that's specific to your goals. You will probably meet some people with like-minded goals such as yourself.

People supporting one another to reach their fitness goals? Count me in.

Martial Arts

Research has shown martial arts is a great way to improve stress management, mental health, and work any pent up aggression. In my opinion, it is a perfect way for someone to build confidence and self-esteem.

Martial Arts can probably be very difficult to get into if dealing with depression because it is painful. However, it's very rewarding and easy to adhere to if you have a coach or someone who holds you accountable.

You can also do martial arts anywhere: from drill work, to shadow boxing, and light equipment use.

The Best Exercise

So what is the best exercise?

The truth of the matter is: the best exercise for mental health is one that you can do at a moderate-intensity for an extended period of time.

While there isn't a best workout program for mental health, here are a few recommendations we have for exercise:

  • Find exercise that you find it easy to commit to. Adherence is key to success in building discipline towards exercise.
  • Start small, and build up on it.Start simply with a 15-30 minute workout session. Slowly add to your exercise routine.
  • Try to get around 3-5 hours of weekly exercise. Various research has shown exercising around 3-5 hours per week can improve mental health.
  • Make exercise as easy as possible to get to. This could mean keeping workout equipment at your office space, or having your gym clothes on you in the car.
  • Get a supportive personal trainer or a workout partner. Having one of the two makes it easier to build adherence around exercise.
  • Your preferences may change overtime. I started with circuit training, then moved towards resistance training. Today, I do a combination of weight training and martial arts. Find what's easy to stick to at the beginning and do it!

These are only a few of the suggestions we recommend when it comes to adherence and exercise.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at support@reforgedperformance.com or direct message us on Instagram.

Until next time!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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